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2015 Search Engine Ranking Factors

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Ask SEO experts and they will tell you that SEO is the right blend of knowledge, skill and a hefty amount of guesswork. Sure, search engine optimization has been around for years. However, the formula to always be part of Page One continues to remain one of Google’s best-kept secrets.

Every couple of years, digital marketing tycoon, Moz conducts a survey among 150+ seasoned SEO professionals to find out what the most important factors affecting ranking are.

It’s important to remember that Moz isn’t certifying the correlation results as debunking Google’s top-secret algorithm. “Note that these factors are not “proof” of what search engines use to rank websites, but simply show the characteristics of web pages that tend to rank higher.”

To discuss the results effectively, we’ve highlighted some of the most important details: Top ranking and bottom ranking factors, attributes with high, moderate and low correlation, future predictions as well as the myths surrounding SEO.

Factor Highlights

The following factors are the result of a data analysis among 17,600 keyword search results. Keep in mind that these are correlation findings and don’t necessary equate to the causation of high-ranking results.


  • Quantity and quality of links to domain
  • Quantity and quality of links to pages
  • Quality and content optimization


  • Exact and partial match keyword domains
  • Domain name length, TLD extension, SSL certificate
  • Quantity and quality of social media content share


  • Anchor text; quantity and quality of links
  • Quantity of social shares
  • Effective page engagement (low bounce rates, high page views and good time-on-site)


  • Page length
  • Hreflang Tag
  • Time until domain registration expiration


  • HTTPS websites
  • Type of domain (e.g .com, .co., .ca, etc)
  • Exact-match keyword use on pages

Two SEO Myths that Need to Stop

There are far too many myths that have plagued the world of search engine optimization for far too long. According to the Moz survey, here are two that continue to dominate the industry:

  1. There are 200 Google SEO ranking factors

Out of all the myths out there, this one takes the cake. Majority of the sources of it comes from clickbait lists solely based on speculation and guesswork. However, in reality, Google head honcho Matt Cutts shares that the company relies on over 200 ranking factors, with each factor having up to 50 variations.

Now, whatever Cutts is trying to say is yet another layer to add to the secrecy of the algorithm.

  1. Indexing and ranking are the same

This myth couldn’t be more false. Indexing is integral to how search engine works. It’s the process of mapping everything online that is associated with either a word or phrase. It determines which resources to suggest next, not in what order to suggest them. Ranking is merely a part of indexing to boost search and return relevant results to users.

Future Predictions as Told by SEO Pros

Over 150 SEO experts weighed in on what they think is the future of search ranking in the next 12 months. Here are some of the factors they think more emphasis will be put on:

  1. Mobile friendliness is foreseen to play a major role in impacting SEO rankings.
  2. It won’t be long until the analysis of a website or page’s perceived value is possible.
  3. Not only the quantity but also the quality of immediate answers provided in SERPs.
  4. Usage data, which includes click through rates (CTR) as well as time spent on each page. The longer they site on the site, the better. This only means that users are finding the website quite useful.
  5. A website’s design, usability and readability will have a greater impact.
  6. Structured data is also foreseen as becoming more influential in rankings in the near future.
  7. A website associated with its own mobile app is foreseen to have a strong impact on search results.
  8. Clickstream data, which comes from analyzing data on what specific pages visitors view as well as in what order, will be further highlighted.
  9. Site speed will continue to be a strong factor in determining a website’s ranking in the future.
  10. HTTPS is not perceived by SEO experts as having considerable impact. However, professionals continue to anticipate its possible impact in the coming months.

Key Takeaways

There are a million and one reasons why your website is not among the top of the class. There are three primary things you need to constantly take note of if you want to improve your ranking.

Enrich your content by going beyond keyword usage and deeper into its impact. Keep in mind: Google also has its users to answer to. They only want the best content possible. Next is to review your website, from its design down to its functionality. It is still best to use a responsive website that’s adaptable to plenty of platforms and devices. Lastly, conduct split tests every now and then. This will tell you why page visitors aren’t spending as much time as they should on your site.

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